2017-12-20 / Editorials

Letters to the Editor

Shut Down Show Palace

A copy of this letter was received at the
offices of the Queens Gazette.
December 13, 2017
Richard A. Brown
District Attorney
Office of the Queens County District Attorney
125-01 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, New York 11415
Dear Judge Brown,

I write regarding the nightclub, Show Palace, that is negatively affecting our community. Located at 42-50 21st Street in Long Island City, Show Palace is a western Queens gentlemen’s club that significantly impacts our public safety. I ask that you consider utilizing New York’s Nuisance Abatement Law to shut the doors of this unwelcome business.

Recent reports from the New York City Police Department’s 108th Precinct indicate a disproportionate number of disturbing incidents coming from this location, including shootings, prostitution, and other summonses. Taken together, these activities make clear that the continued operation of this club puts our community at risk.

Additionally, Show Palace is an establishment opposed by our community for many years. The State Liquor Authority and Community Board 2 have, since 2012, repeatedly denied Show Palace a liquor license when it was operating under the name Gypsy Rose.

The ownership of this establishment has a poor business record in our city. The former strip club Sin City, located in the Bronx and operated by at least one of the same individuals involved with Show Palace, was finally forced to close after a history of drug sales, gang activity and allegations of prostitution.

It is evident that Show Palace presents an increased danger to local residents and is a detriment to our community. Given the aforementioned concerns, I respectfully request that the Nuisance Abatement Law be utilized to provide our neighborhood with some relief. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

Michael Gianaris
New York State Senate
cc: Captain Ralph Forgione,
108th Precinct

Bike Lanes Killing Business

To The Editor:

My name is Gary Taylor, owner of Tropix Bar and Lounge. I have been a hard-working business owner for the last 13 years, providing a venue for locals to relax and unwind after a stressful day. Since the bike lanes were installed they have caused 75 percent less parking, disastrous traffic issues, and dangerous conditions for pedestrians and bikers, and revenue have plummeted.

Speaking to my fellow business owners we are all suffering since the reallocation of traffic lanes. The most frustrating is the lack of bikers actually using the lanes. I can tell you that more frustrated drivers stuck in traffic are taking advantage of the empty biker lanes to bypass jammed one-lane service roads.

Tickets being written to our customers not understanding the new parking zones, which by the way is minimal, has them angered, vowing not to come back. Customers walk into Tropix saying, “Sorry wanted to stop by last week, but couldn’t find parking” is disheartening. Someone from DOT or the mayor’s office needs to come out to this nightmare we are facing and view for themselves what us hardworking owners are experiencing every day.

To walk by a restaurant during peak hours and see zero customers is heartbreaking. We need help!

Gary Taylor, owner
Tropix Bar and Lounge, Rego Park

Merry Crisismas

To The Editor:

The Republican permanent tax cut (from 35 percent to 21 percent) for corporations, including for foreign corporate ownership interests, also repeals the individual mandate to hurt Obamacare. It adds about $1.5 trillion to the federal deficit at a time when corporate profits and income inequality are at record levels, but about nine years too late for fiscal stimulus. Where now are Republican howls about deficits that we heard when (howls) were appropriate during the recent worst financial crisis in history? What will happen to President Trump’s $1 trillion of much-needed infrastructure spending?

This giveaway to the rich, including to President Trump, will enable Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to cite deficits in an attempt to cut Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. It will also encourage President Trump to move to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Leonard Lanzone

Why It Can’t Work

To The Editor:

The recent Regional Plan Association proposal for closing the New York City Transit subway system between 12:30 and 5:00 a.m. as a way to speed up maintenance work is doomed to fail. “Knock Out The City That Never Sleeps? Never!” (Editorial, December 6). Here is is why. Trips from the first to last stop on any subway line after midnight can range from 30 to 90 minutes and more. If the last Flushing-bound 7 train left Hudson Yards Station at 12:30 a.m., it would arrive at Main Street Flushing by 1:10 a.m. The last A train leaving Far Rockaway at 12:30 a.m. would (not) arrive at Inwood 207th Street in Manhattan until after 2 a.m. How would you coordinate shutting down service at dozens of stations that have multiple subway lines providing transfers at the same location? As a result, the window for overnight work as envisioned by the Regional Plan Association might vary from 3 to 4 hours versus 4 1/2 hours.

Next, what to do with several thousand homeless people who either ride the subways, sit in stations or camp out in bathrooms overnight? Many prefer the E, R and other lines which run 100 percent underground in the winter to avoid inclement weather. Who will remove them from both the last subway train when reaching the final stop before going out of service and all 471 stations in the system? What about people using subway station bathrooms? Subway stations have no doors near most entrances and staircases. They were never designed to be closed for any period of time. How much additional funding will be required to redesign and modify 471 stations to afford actually closing? Five to ten buses, depending upon the subway line, would be needed to provide equivalent substitute bus service capacity for each canceled scheduled overnight train. Substitute bus service running on the street would not be able to obtain the same speed as a subway train. Boarding of buses on the street adjacent to a subway station would require more time due to far fewer doors. As a result overnight trips would take far longer before passengers would reach their final destination.

NYC Transit union contracts do not afford management the opportunity to hire and assign part time employees. If there is only 4 1/2 hours available for overnight maintenance in a closed system, what will track and maintenance workers accomplish during the remaining 3 1/2 hours? If a typical subway station is closed for less than 4 1/2 hours, what will the station manager and token clerks do overnight? Should they stay overnight to reopen the station or just go home? Someone will have to arrive before service resumes at 5 a.m. to reopen stations. Upon completion of the last trip, most trains will have to dead head back to the rail yards for overnight storage. Many will have to leave rail yards well before 5 a.m. to be positioned for resumption of service starting at the first stop. This will also reduce the amount of track time available for overnight maintenance.

On balance, after adding up all the additional costs for closing down and reopening the system – along with inconvenience to riders and employees – the Regional Plan Association proposal makes no sense and will never leave the station. NYC has and always will be a 24- hour town. This includes our subway and most bus routes.

Larry Penner
Great Neck

Larry Penner is a transportation historian and advocate who worked for 31 years at the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration Region 2 NY Office.

Holiday Heroes

To The Editor:

Christmas is a time for caring, sharing and giving. It is a time we travel to visit friends and relatives and exchanging presents. But I feel it is a time to recognize members of our communities who do things for others and some who go the extra mile to help those in the most need. We also need to applaud our police, firefighters and EMS workers who do their best to save lives and property – not only during the holidays, but all year long. They risk their lives protecting all of us. If you see any of them tell them “thank you for a job well done.” Also let’s not forget our brave men and women in the military who are serving our country and protecting us all worldwide. Please say a prayer this Christmas for our heroes, that God will keep them safe as they do for all of us year-round.

• • •

A Christmas Memory

Two days before Christmas in 1973, it was cold and beginning to snow when I set out from Great Lakes, Illinois at 6 am to get home to my two boys on Long Island. My sons, Tommy and Bobby, were in a foster home in Levittown because my wife had left us. I was in the Navy and hadn’t enough money to fly home. I always kept my promise to my boys and didn’t want to disappoint them. Roger, a buddy, had a car and could get me as far as Ohio. I could get a Greyhound bus there, which cost less. The roads were starting to get icy. All of a sudden Roger’s car skidded and hit the back of a truck. We were lucky, though, and escaped unhurt. Now I had to hitchhike. As I was hitchhiking I recalled a poem by Robert Frost that went in part as follows, “The woods are lovely, dark, and deep but I have promises to keep and many miles to go before I sleep.” Which I really had to do. I was 50 miles from Indianapolis. Seeing me in my dress blues, a man who said he never picked up hitchhikers gave me a ride because it was Christmastime. He dropped me off near a ramp that went into town. Just then, another man driving a snowplow saw me and offered me a ride as well. He got me into the main part of town in Indianapolis. I was walking in snow about a half-foot deep when a young couple picked me up and drove me to the bus station. I got out and wished them a happy holiday. The station was crammed with homebound soldiers and sailors. I struck up a conversation with a young woman who was trying to get home as well in New York City to her daughter. We found out that Greyhound was giving couples first priority, so we presented ourselves as a pair and got a bus sooner. I finally got to the Port Authority terminal in Manhattan at 7 a.m. Christmas Eve.

I then got on an F train and then a bus which took me to Queens Village, where I was greeted heartily by my father-in-law, Charlie, and my mother-in law, Barbara. Their daughter, Christine, was living then in Nevada. We had breakfast and set out to pick up the boys in Levittown. When we got there Tommy, 4, saw me first and yelled out to Bobby, 3, that “new daddy” was here. They called me that to distinguish me from their foster parents. We got back to the Queens Village house and that night cerebrated Christmas. I opened my sea bag and gave my boys their toys – a Mack truck, a fire truck, coloring books and crayons – which I said Santa Claus had entrusted to me when I was up North. At that they hugged me and gave a big kiss. My long journey was well worth it. I hope and pray that the many who are serving our country today can make it home safely as I did so long ago. Families are what the holidays are all about. But more importantly, it truly means a lot to our military men and women coming home during the holidays. Let me also say, God bless America and God bless those who are serving our country in faraway lands, who serve us so well protecting what we all hold most dear, and that is our freedom.

Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Glen Oaks Village

Concealed Carry Tragedy

To The Editor:

I am so happy that two positive giving events were held this past week by Paul Vallone by visiting St. Mary’s hospital and giving gifts and holding a party for the disabled children; and Saint Demetrios School doing a great deal to give to others. This shows loving kindness and good deeds and the true spirit of the holiday season. I liked the Gazette’s Chanukah piece and, yes, it was the strength of the Macabees fighting the many to get religious freedom and the miracle of the holy oil that was only supposed to last for one day lasting for eight days. Chanukah is a spiritual holiday, one of miracles as well and it adds light to the world which we should all do. We should light candles of kindness in our daily life. We should all have the holiday spirit every day in our lives, not only on Chanukah and Christmas.

I am glad they are working to shut down that lewd adult night club.

I am appalled that the internet situation will be changed by the FCC.

Also am appalled that the gun law of being able to carry concealed weapons will hurt people and cause such tragedies like that of Sandy Hook Elementary School which is commemorating its fifth anniversary of the horrible event.

Council Member Liz Crowley is so wonderful and did a lot for her community and I am proud of her.

Cynthia Groopman
Little Neck

Tree Hazards Ignored

To The Editor:

Five years after Hurricane Sandy’s deadly rampage across our area, the family of Tony Laino, who was killed on that night when a huge tree crashed through the roof of his home, killing him, the city finally settled with his family, awarding them nearly $500,000 as a result of a lawsuit that they filed due to this terrible, needless tragedy. The tree, that was in front of their home, a cottonwood reportedly near 100 feet tall, should never have been planted by the city to begin with. This species is known for shedding branches in high winds, and is also very susceptible to being uprooted due to its very shallow root system. A shallow-rooted tree will go down in high winds, and the winds on the night of October 29, 2012 were gusting as high as 90 mph in our area. There were many complaints that the Lainos, as well as neighbors on their street, had filed via 311 for several years, all to no avail. About three months before the hurricane, arborists from the Division of Forestry came to prune some branches off this huge tree, which only further weakened it. It was reported that Tony’s father pleaded with them to take the tree down due to the potential danger that it posed. The response from the arborists was that they could not remove the tree. WHY? Due to the negligence of the Division of Forestry, which should have removed this massive tree, this awful, needless tragedy occurred. Had the Division of Forestry done its job properly, Tony Laino would still be alive today and happily married. How many more people like Tony Laino are going to have to lose their lives due to the refusal of the Division of Forestry to remove trees that are too large, dead or dying, and may fall causing injury or death? What is the problem with this Department? When they send out inspectors to look at trees that people have called into 311 about, don’t these people, who are supposed to be certified arborists realize that all of these tree complaints are truly legitimate and that immediate, appropriate action must be taken to prevent potential tragic situations, such as the one that happened to Tony Laino? There needs to be an investigation as to why the Division of Forestry is reluctant to remove street and park trees that are potentially dangerous. If there are people in this department who are not properly doing their jobs, they need to be fired immediately and replaced with those who will do these jobs correctly. The people of this city should be able to walk down tree-lined streets and through city parks without having to worry that a branch or tree might fall on them. Enough is enough already!

John Amato
Fresh Meadows

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